REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – Three of the four surviving members of the Flying Tigers, the 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese air force, will participate in an event recognizing the Army Aviation Association of America Fixed Wing Unit of the Year at Redstone Army Air Field on Friday, September 27.
The Flying Tigers who will be participating, MSGT (Ret.) Charles “Chuck” Baisden, USAF; Army Maj. (Ret.) Ed Stiles, Sr.; and Frank Losonsky, former Flying Tigers crew chief, are celebrating their 72nd reunion.
The Flying Tigers were recruited by the Chinese government, with the permission of then president Franklin D. Roosevelt, to train Chinese pilots in air combat. A total of 252 men, 87 pilots and 165 support personnel, signed up for a one year service in Burma flying and maintaining P-40 Warhawks from late 1941 through mid-1942.
The group fought for seven months for China in the Second Sino-Japanese War and was credited for nearly 300 aerial victories and unofficially credited with hundreds of additional, but unconfirmed, aircraft losses by the Japanese.
The Flying Tigers will be honored this weekend with a tour of Redstone Arsenal and the Space and Rocket Center, a banquet held in their honor, and a Passing of the Torch ceremony, among other things.